The Home Automation Blog

Welcome to your Home Automation resource. Here you can follow along in our adventures in home automation. If you're interested in getting home automation assistance in the St. Louis area drop us a line on our Contact Us page. You can also check out our home automation blog below.


The other day we were talking about the coronavirus (covid19) pandemic and the rush on toilet paper at most stores in the United States. Then the topic of Bidets came up. If you're looking for a bidet, to remove your dependancy on toilet paper, be sure to check out some of the bidet options on Amazon

A bidet is a great way to "feel fresh" and clean your netherregion after using the restroom. 

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Sitting in the basement tonight, getting ready to movie night, the family started yelling “Hey Google, Turn off the basement lights”. To our dismay, Google was unable to turn off the lights.
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Just in time for the 2018 Super Bowl YouTube TV is now available on select Roku devices and Apple Tv!

As a recent cord cutter (October 2017) I’ve been waiting for this day. I signed up for YouTube TV in October, before actually cutting the cord on Charter Cable here in Wildwood, MO, but since then the use of YouTube TV has been limited in our house to mainly myself, my kids and my wife haven’t used it, because it wasn’t “easy” to get going. You could previously use YouTube TV on a PC, via a Chromecast (casted from your mobile phone), or on Xbox. I used all three of those options fairly regularly, but the rest of the family stuck with Netflix on the Roku as the primary source of entertainment.

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I recently installed a mesh network in our house using Google Wifi, replacing an Asus RT-N66U that was powering the network for our entire house (2 story, with basement). We found that Wifi was weak in certain areas of the house, the RT-N66U was on the first floor in the middle of the house.
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I thought I blogged about this previously, but apparently not. One of the most frustrating things with getting your Foscam FI9803ep setup and running is getting the FTP access working. With the firmware updates in the past year or two, enabling FTP access to the camera isn’t easy.
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It’s been a year or more that people have been waiting for Google Home hardware to be able to control Insteon home automation hardware. Finally Insteon has come out with support for Google Assistant! Insteon sent out an email earlier today with:
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So I really am starting to question my usage of Insteon hardware in my automated home lately. The Insteon App for Android is just poor, I’ll leave the details on those complaints for another blog post, but today, let’s talk about the latest Hub firmware update.
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A few weeks ago we picked up a Google Home device from Best Buy. I must admit, I was always jealous of those of you who had Amazon’s Echo, but we held off on buying a device, waiting for Google to come out with something.

I must say, I am glad I waited! If you don’t have a device yet, definitely consider Google Home over Echo, I think it is even cheaper right now too with the holiday prices somewhere around $99.

Here are a couple of great things you can ask your Google Home for the holidays. Everything assumes you are starting out with “Okay Google” as that is what you need to say to get it going.

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I recently got around to installing my Foscam fi9803ep (HD/POE) camera, and after getting everything setup, realized I was unable to access the SD card via the “SD Card Management” option in the settings for the Camera.

If you logged into the camera via the web interface (using Internet Explorer, no Chrome support from what I can find) you can configure the camera to take a Snapshot every X seconds, as well as have it take snapshots or record based on an “Alarm” setting. I was able to get all of that configured, but when I tried to access any of those files, I was unable to do so remotely. Clicking on the SD Card Management link in Internet Explorer would simply open up an FTP connection to the camera, in Windows 10, but no matter what I typed in, I wasn’t able to successfully log in.

Update: I have experienced the same problem with a Foscam fi9900ep camera as well. 

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This is a follow up post to our post earlier this week

Earlier this week we posted about not being able to get the INSTEON Wireless Security IP Camera with Pan, Tilt and Night Vision working with our Insteon Hub using the Android Application. I reached out to Insteon support to see what they had to offer, they suggested that if I had an iOS device I could use the “Add existing” option when adding the Camera to the Hub app, but that feature isn’t available on the Android version.

We are an Android household, though I do have a Macbook Pro, I don’t have an iOS devices. I commandeered the office’s IPod Touch for the weekend to see if I could get the cameras working, and what do you know, they sure do!

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For a few years now I’ve been wanting to tie our Christmas lights into my Insteon Home Automation, but I haven’t had any of the Insteon hardware/software hooked up due to various houses we were in. This year is different, this year my Christmas lights are hooked up to my home automation system!
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Is [email protected] vaporware? That is the question I have been asking myself since Google announced [email protected] at Google IO earlier this week.

There isn’t a whole lot of information out there as of right now, as to what [email protected] actually is, will be, or wants to be. The details are very sparse. The only information with any sort of a timeline that I’ve been able to find is an article from TechRadar that says the first “product” will be due at the end of this year (2011).

I’m hoping that things will flush out from Google over the next few months. In the mean time I think it is time that I dive into some Android development. I’ve been meaning to do so for quite some time, but with everything else going on I haven’t had the opportunity.

If you recall my last blog post you’ll see that I’ve dumb’d down the house, so this announcement from Google about [email protected] might have come at just the right time for me. Is it time to ditch Insteon and move to something else? Only time will tell.

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So here we are, getting ready to move again, so what do I need to do? Well, remove all the Insteon hardware from the house of course! This post is actually a year and a half too late, as we have actually moved once already, we left our house in Colorado to move to California. Making that house “dumb” was easy, as I had only put in two Insteon switches in that house.

Here in California I had wired up 7 various INSTEON SwitchLinc devices throughout the house, with a combination of relays and sending units. I never really took it 100% like I wanted to, but I also knew we wouldn’t be living here for more than a year. So I removed all of the switches this weekend. Installing the SwitchLinc devices is easy, removing them is just as easy. Though I did run into one stumbling block. The hall lighting in this house was wired with a 4 way switch. I had no clue what that meant, except that it had 3 switches that could control the lights.

When I had wired up the Insteon switches I ended up making only one of the switches work, the other two were plated off. Well that wouldn’t be acceptable for the land lord so I had to figure out how to get it working. Fortunately I came across this website that showed me how to figure out the wiring of a 4-way switch.

Hopefully with the new place I’ll have the opportunity to wire things up again and this time I can go all out. I’ve got plenty of devices to use.

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So it’s been a year since I really did anything with my home automation projects. In that time we’ve moved, from Missouri to Colorado, and purchased our first home.

It is time to begin again! I recently ordered a Smarthome kit, INSTEON Lamp Scene Lighting Starter Kit. I ended up finding it on a special deal a day website that Best Buy has for its Rewardzone members. The kit was priced at $60, a pretty good deal considering Smarthome sells it for $99. I expected it to show up in a few days and I would hook it up and get a few things running. To my surprise however I didn’t receive the kit in the mail, I got a decent sized box from the deal website, labeled as a smarthome box. I though there must be a lot of packing material in the box, only to open it and find a plethora of Insteon hardware, nothing like the kit I ordered, but WAY better.


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So today I spent some time working around the house with my family, my parents visited us for the holidays. After cleaning up the xmas decorations my wife headed off to ride her horses and my dad and I worked on a few things.

I received a few Insteon icondevices for xmas this year so we worked on getting those wired up in the house. We now have two Smartlinc Insteon Dimmer Switchs iconhooked up, one in the living room, and one in our bedroom.

My trial license of mControl expired, so I am going to have to figure out what to do about software to control the switches, I still think I would like to write my own, but we’ll see how that goes. I have enough other projects to keep me busy without trying to start up my own open source home automation application.

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So I was going to go to bed tonight without blogging here on my home automation blog, but I came across a few products from Smarthome that forced me to blog!

The first thing I came across was this, an indoor yard iconfor your pet to defecate on… really?

Then I came across this pooper scooper icon! Seriously?

When they come up with an automated roomba icontype bot that actually picks up the yard I’ll buy it.

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Well it’s now officially the day after Thanksgiving, that means Christmas Lights need to go up over the next few days. With that in mind, and following my blog post from earlier, I decide it was time to get the Insteon and X-10 equipment I do own working together. I ran across the mControl Software on Smarthomeand then decided I would look into it more. I found a trial copy and have that up and running on my Windows Home Server. I must say, it is pretty sweet that I can control the lights from nearly any computer in the world now. Over the next few days I’ll go through and hookup all the hardware I have boxed up currently. It is mostly X-10 icon controls, but I do have a few Insteon iconcontrols as well.

Here’s a screenshot of my test setup running in the Windows Home Server console.



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So it has been a while since we've done anything with our Domotics (Home Automation) blog, and it's getting to be winter time, time for projects inside the house. Last year we started down the path of Smarthome products, but we didn't proceed all that far into the system. We still have the hardware, and will most likely use that hardware/technology going forward, but first the question is. Read more!
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One of the projects that we will be following here  at will be the move of Christopher and Natalie Hammond over at They will be moving to Colorado in the summer of 2009 and part of their moving process will be to configure a house with a home automation setup. Stay tuned as that process unfolds!

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This blog hasn't seen much activity lately. We've been too busy finishing up a few other projects to start playing with all of our new Insteon toys. We should have those plugged in and playtime commencing sometime this week!
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I haven't received an email yet but it looks like by tracking my order on the Insteon SDK shipped today!
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Great news! Part of the SMARTHOME order came in today. The two modules arrived though still no word on the SDK. I'm actually thinking I might not need the SDK and the 2600S as I may have another solution in the works! More on that if I find out more information tomorrow!
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In the last post I made mention of the fact that I hadn't heard anything from SMARTHOME regarding my order which included in the USB version of the Insteon SDK. Well I called SMARTHOME yesterday and they told me that they would be unable to fulfill that order because the USB version was not longer producted, so I cancelled the order. Today I called them again and learned that their Serial SDK was still available, though it was listed on the site as backorder.
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Well last week we posted about ordering an SDK for Insteon from Since that order we haven't heard a single word from Smarthome... No update on the order beyond my initial email that I received for confirmation. Their website says the order is "open".
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Well, we took the time this evening to order a few things from SMARTHOME this evening. We ended up ordering the Hardwired SignaLinc Phase Coupler (Signal Bridge) as well as a INSTEON SwitchLinc Dimmer, White. We hope to use the Phase Coupler to make sure that the power lines here in our test house don't have any problems at the breaker box.
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Here at the Home Automation blog we've been looking into options for how we can remotely control a thermostat in a home. We honestly haven't found a whole lot of information for solutions that we deem acceptable yet.
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Checkout yet ANOTHER domain name! Yes, I do own too many domain names. is the future home of the most prominent Home Automation blog on the web! Check it out as the site begins to come...
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